Free Comic Book Day
Free Comic Book Day, taking place on the first Saturday of May, is an annual promotional effort by the North American comic book industry to help bring new readers into independent comic book stores. Retailer Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, California brainstormed the event in his "Big Picture" column in the August 2001 issue of Comics & Games Retailer magazine. Free Comic Book Day started in 2002 and is coordinated by the industry's single large distributor, Diamond Comic Distributors. This is another event like the Comic Book Day which started in USA and is now celebrated across countries in Asia, Europe and Australia.
|Free Comic Book Day|
Official logo for Free Comic Book Day
|Observed by||Direct market comic book shops, Comic book collectors, Comics artists, Comic book fandom, Comic publishers, Diamond Comics Distributors|
|Date||First Saturday in May|
|2018 date||May 5|
|2019 date||May 4|
|2020 date||May 2|
|2021 date||May 1|
In 2001, retailer Joe Field was writing columns for an industry magazine, and saw how successful feature films based on comic book franchises were providing the comic book industry with a positive cultural and financial turnaround from the speculator bust of the late 1990s, Field proposed Free Comic Book Day in one of his columns, and received positive reaction to it. Then-Image Comics publisher Jim Valentino suggested having the first Free Comic Book Day on the same weekend as the opening of the 2002 Spider-Man feature film, in order to take advantage of the film's heavy promotion and related press about the comic book medium, and thus the first event was held May 4, 2002, one day after the film's opening. However, not all events have corresponded with the release of a film based on a comic book. In 2004 it was held in July, but it was moved back to the first Saturday in May the following year and has been held on that day ever since. On Free Comic Book Day, participating comic book store retailers give away specially printed copies of free comic books, and some offer special deals and creator signings to those visiting their establishments. However, retailers do not receive the issues for free; they pay 12–50 cents per copy for the comics they give away during the event. In addition to comic books, some stores also give away other merchandise, such as mini posters and other movie tie-in memorabilia.
|1||May 4, 2002||Spider-Man|
|2||May 3, 2003||X2|
|3||July 3, 2004||Spider-Man 2|
|4||May 7, 2005||None|
|5||May 6, 2006||None|
|6||May 5, 2007||Spider-Man 3|
|7||May 3, 2008||Iron Man|
|8||May 2, 2009||X-Men Origins: Wolverine|
|9||May 1, 2010||Iron Man 2|
|10||May 7, 2011||Thor|
|11||May 5, 2012||The Avengers|
|12||May 4, 2013||Iron Man 3|
|13||May 3, 2014||The Amazing Spider-Man 2|
|14||May 2, 2015||Avengers: Age of Ultron|
|15||May 7, 2016||Captain America: Civil War|
|16||May 6, 2017||Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2|
|17||May 5, 2018||Venom[note 1]|
|18||May 4, 2019||None|
In its first six years, more than 2000 retailers in more than 30 countries gave away more than 12 million Free Comic Book Day special edition comic books. The success of the promotion rests with each participating retailer. Most participants agree that Free Comic Book Day has been part of a healthier comics market and growing comic book sales over the last several years. Free Comic Book Day has also garnered press coverage in the news media. In 2014 the free publicity for the Free Comic Book Day event, and the comic book industry, from Facebook, Twitter, over 1000 television news stations, and over 4000 online news outlets was estimated at $3.4 million. In 2015 the number of shops participating in Free Comic Book Day increased 8% over how many participated in 2014 and the number of comic books ordered increased by 21%.
In some communities, the day is more grandly organized such as in London, Ontario, Canada where most of its major comic book retailers, such as Heroes Comics, as well as the London Public Library's Central branch participate. On that day, these establishments cooperate in a major cross-promotion in which visitors are invited to collect stamps of each participating establishment for entry in a prize draw upon completion as well as various other activities which has evolved into a street festival in the city's downtown core. The 2013 event collected over 2000 such completed ballots, which does not account for more casual visitors.
Some stores have treated FCBD as mini-conventions complete with artist alleys, contests and cosplaying fans. FCBD also has a positive impact for independent artists as it became an opportunity in marketing their works.
While the comic books distributed on Free Comic Book Day don't have a monetary cost, it is incorrect to think this means they are truly free. Economists would point out that there exists an opportunity cost in the time spent reading the book; if this time could be better spent in some other fashion, whether in other forms of leisure or in gainful employment, it is a loss. For those who keep the book, there is the cost of storing the book; while small individually, it can add up in aggregate. Environmentalists consider the costs of the production of the comic book - in trees chopped down, ink made, and gasoline to transport the comic books to the store. If someone becomes a hardcore comics fan as a result of the free comic book, and decides to become a low-paid freelance comics journalist rather than a high-paid corporate lawyer, the costs in lost income could be substantial indeed. Theologians note that if comic books can lower the moral qualities of their readers, a new comics fan might abandon their family, their friends, and their religion, and descend to a life of senseless hedonism. The end result would be the free comic book reader pleading, screaming for mercy from a lake of fire, a mercy that will never come to the damned. Of course, this is something of a worst case scenario; most readers would likely experience costs low enough to be reasonably close to the "free" cost advertised.
- In conjunction with Free Comic Book Day on May 6, 2006, TwoMorrows Publishing hosted a promotional Free Magazine Day. Visitors to their website were able to order any in-stock issue of their magazines Back Issue, Alter Ego, Draw!, or Write Now! for free.
- In 2012, Diamond Distributors created the annual Halloween ComicFest. Similar to Free Comic Book Day, Halloween ComicFest features free books, but with Halloween themes. It takes place on the Saturday and Sunday near Halloween. In 2013, the event took place on October 26 and 27.
- For Free Comic Book Day 2017, the Arizona Comic Mini Expo teamed up with several comic artists to raise money for the HERO Initiative and the ACLU of Arizona.
- Germany, Austria, and Switzerland launched their own day for free comic books, Gratis Comic Tag, on May 8, 2010.
- The Netherlands and Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) began their own Free Comic Book Day on May 5, 2012.
Free RPG DayEdit
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Free Comic Book Day is a single day - the first Saturday in May each year
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- Free Comic Book Day
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